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FWA Q&A: Tony Banks

TONY BANKS of the Daily Express on mixing up the Laudrups…upsetting Harry of Romford Market…and drinking with Scottish oilmen in Qatar…

Your first ever job in journalism?
I worked on the Informer group of free newspapers in Surrey/Middlesex area. Started off doing match reports for nowt for them on Kingstonian in the Isthmian League. Wouldn’ t recommend working for nothing though.

Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
Worked in a factory making pieces for petrol pumps, then one packing medicines for Unichem for delivery to chemists. Brilliant moment when we arrived for work and factory had burned down, someone had tried to go through the roof with an acetylene cutter to get to the secure hard drugs section. Marvellous.

Most memorable match?
1991 FA Cup semi-final Spurs v Arsenal.

The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
Obviously, one of my goals for the infamous Kew Barges. There were only two so it wouldn’t be a long clip.

Best stadium?
Probably Craven Cottage – or rather the walk to it through Bishops Park on a sunny day after a pint or two in the Bricklayers.

…and the worst?
Really not a fan of San Siro. Cold and austere – and the wi-fi is a nightmare. And Selhurst Park. Always a traffic jam, always windy.

Your personal new-tech disaster?
At Millwall. They had just knocked Southampton out of the cup in a midweek replay. Rewrite written just on deadline. Push button, piece disappears. Can’t find it anywhere – do it again over phone off top of head, stream of consciousness. That original piece is out there still somewhere. If you find it, send it home please. You’ll know it – lumpy, dull intro.

Biggest mistake?
Blimey. Calling Brian Laudrup “Michael” in a press conference. Tons of them. Called Anna Kournikova “Steffi”. Bit frosty after that. Did a line once that while Arsene Wenger shops in Armani, Harry Redknapp (then Pompey) has to make do with Romford Market. He didn’t think that was funny.

Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
Albert Steptoe. By my mum.

Most media friendly manager?
Can’t really look past Harry – mind you, he can look past me. But a big fan of Alan Smith (ex-Palace).

Best ever player?
Lionel Messi.

Best ever teams (club and international)?
Brazil 1970 – though never actually saw them live. Barcelona 2009/10.

Best pre-match grub?
Arsenal is very good but Chelsea (got to keep in with Theresa) is top notch now. And sweets!

Best meal had on your travels?
Some lovely cookies in Amsterdam. They were nice.

…and the worst?
Moldova. With Spurs. Uefa Cup. Pre-match banquet. Had the ice-cream. Don’t ask. Some of us still scarred by the experience.

Best hotel stayed in?
Can’t remember the name but it was in Qatar. Amazing. But no bar – only place you could get a drink was in a room on 34th floor. Full of Scottish oilmen who had all, oddly, played for Queen of the South.

…and the worst?
Some place in Moldova a long time ago…..

Favourite football writer?
I’m a fan of the news getters – so Pat Sheehan, John Cross, Kevin Moseley, Shaun Custis.

Favourite radio/TV commentator?
Martin Tyler. And Brian Moore, of course.

If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
Trust us a bit more. Relax. Mostly we are on your side.

One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
I’m generally late for events, so probably not the 100 metres final. Done a few GP’s, but fancy Monaco.

Last book read?
Robert MacFarlane “Wild Ways.”

Favourite current TV programme?
Boringly, it’s probably Match of the Day.

Your most prized football memorabilia?
Got a sign from Bradford Park Avenue’s old ground. Meat pies 3d. Doesn’t actually say its from Park Avenue on it, but it is.

Advice to anyone coming into the football media world?
First, be persistent. Then work your nuts off and get numbers in your book. More the better.

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    bob addison

    September 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

    The Hotel in Qatar would have been the Ramada – gold tinted windows…

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